What is Support?
The short answer is pretty straightforward. Particularly for technical products and services, customer support and service is a critical component of a relationship. Forget about the sale, forget about the logistics and shipping and forget about the “client win”. A client won is easily a client lost with poor or misguided support procedures. And those procedures, complex or simplistic, form the fundamental foundation for a user experience. The sensor industry is no stranger to this concept,since temperature sensors and other monitoring devices are often used as a safeguard for quality assurance, product safety, and various regulation standards.
There is a high degree of visibility and sensitivity for support in the onset of a sale; a sales receipt and a support ticket shouldn’t come as a bundle, and users are highly sensitive to such initial support troubles. Think about it: they’ve just made a ‘new’ purchase, and troubleshooting the purchase (immediately afterwards) sounds like an instant headache. If the product is new, why doesn’t it work out of the box? Of course, this is all dependent on the product being used, the level of technical expertise required for support, and the sensitivity of the product to business operations and/or personal needs.Support may be critical, support may be simple, support may be hardly relevant; it depends on the product. But any support system or team must ultimately rely on...
The Golden Standard of Informed Support:
It’s not enough to have a pack of geniuses in the support system, or a highly personable smoothie with a knack for calming customers. Especially with a technical product (and a technically savvy customer to boot), customers and support have a relationship that mirrors that of a teacher and student. If the teacher is unable to provide informed and researched information that benefits the students (via knowledge, insight, or test preparation), the students are disinterested and frustrated that the supposed “educational leader” is stumbling on the provision of valuable information. Likewise, if support staff members are unable to provide succinct and “tried and true” solutions for customers (along with bold and new improvisations), discontent and frustration can enter the equation. Overall, customers view support personnel as educational leaders in the same way, and are understandably receptive to guidance in foreign territory. Still, if the guidance is poor, the relationship will sour as a result.
Take cloud computing as an example; the popular mission-critical computing venture that can significantly improve performance and reduce overall business costs on data, storage and servers. If you switched your entire organization to a new cloud provider today, and by tomorrow your engineers and system administrators were ranting about the problems and lack of service and support, you’d be quite the regretful business owner (and rightfully so). The cloud computing rabbit hole is deep and terrifying when support and customer service fail.
Going further past the initial sale, support has a valuable and important role in the lifecycle of the customer. Sales teams are the “boots on the ground”, but support staff members are the “angels in the sky”. They represent an eternal shield of protection for the customer, the product, and the overall experience with your business (though depending on your support policies, this may not be eternal).
As a final note, consider the ROI of all of your (satisfied) customers, and recognize that without product satisfaction (specific to support quality), they are ONLY your customers if support maintains progressive trust. Our support staff (for Temperature@lert) is devoted to the golden standard of informed support, and many of our competitors lack the instant phone services and in-house insight that we bring to our customers. The sensor industry relies on this adage more so than a shoe retailer, but any fabulous product must be complemented by receptive and informed support staff members. You want users to be reassured of not just the product, but the quality of service for the product as well. Without high quality service, a high quality product is virtually useless.